First, a Word From Our Sponsor

This blog is about art, and art school, and my boring life.  My medium is the English language, also French and Latin (stop laughing).  So I feel compelled to offer a few corrections of the current abuses of English that I hear around me.  If I don’t stop the madness, who will?

First, a factoid is not a tiny fact.  One tiny fact is the certainty that in your entire life you will never be further than three feet from a spider.  Try to live with it.  A factoid is really a tiny bit of misinformation.  In other words, a factoid is NOT a fact.  One common factoid: jeggings are slimming.

A small pronunciation problem: the word leeward.  It means downwind.  It is used in sailing and is also the name of a group of islands: wait for it … the Leeward Islands.  It is pronounced lou-ward, not lee-ward.  Impress your friends.

Here are two happy tiny language facts that always delight.  The plural of opus is opera.  No kidding!  And “heavy hitter” is a compliment in both baseball AND boxing.

But finally we come to the phrase that makes me want to tear my hair out.  No wait, New York salons are really expensive.  Let’s say it makes me want to cut off an ear, so I give it a Van Gogh award.  “The exception that proves the rule” is a ridiculous, nonsensical assertion.  The original phrase is “the exception that probes the rule,” which you can immediately see actually makes sense.

Please America (not all of whom subscribe to this blog, so discuss amongst yourselves) help me fix our common language.  We are not animals.  Your reward?  Next post: more pretty pictures!

6 thoughts on “First, a Word From Our Sponsor

  1. Your blog is so creative, and funny, and educational—-a real treat in the blogosphere. (Does that last word mean somewhere in the great beyond?)

    • One would almost think you were my mother! Excellent use of “blogosphere”, by the way. I never forget that the reason I’m a good writer is that my mother never stopped reading to us. Thanks, Mom!

  2. Hmm, didn’t see your response until I hunted it down after your follow-up post. Yes, octopus (as my daughter brought to my attention) is not Latin but Greek, so the plural is octopodes. Platypus works the same way. So now imagine yourself surrounded by platypodes.

    • Classic! An army of platypodes! (My spell checker changed it to platypuses TWICE before I caught it!)

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